Patriots cruise to home win

Published 12:26 am Saturday, September 4, 2010

The two-time defending AISA state champions were in championship form on Friday night, as they hosted the Macon-East Academy Knights.

The Patriots utilized the ground game, and the ground game only to defeat the Knights in dominant fashion, 40-7.

“I thought we were a little sloppy in the first half,” Patriots head coach Steven Kilcrease said. “I thought we defended well though, and in the second half we came out with a little bit more fire and intensity.”

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That intensity led to a 382-yard performance for the Patriots offense. The offense didn’t connect on any of the three passing attempts in the game, meaning every yard was earned on the ground.

The Patriots were held to just one touchdown in the first quarter as Nick McLaughlin scored his first of three on the night. The Patriots missed the extra-point field goal attempt and clung to a 6-0 lead through the first quarter.

“I thought we opened a lot of holes for him tonight,” Kilcrease said. “The offensive line really did a great job of blocking tonight, and they deserve a lot of credit for that.

Taylor Stephens put the Patriots back on the board after a competitive opening quarter. Stephens found the end zone from short yardage to put the Patriots up 12-0 with 7:26 left in the first half. The Patriots added a two-point conversion by way of McLaughlin to take a 14-0 lead.

McLaughlin was far from done on the night too.

“Overall I thought we had a great game as a team,” McLaughlin said. “The line was blocking great tonight, and I think we really came out and played hard in the second half.”

The Patriots defense stiffened up even more as the game progressed, and the Knights were unable to function properly on the offensive side. The Patriots quickly got the ball back, and the rushing attack was back in full force.

McLaughlin managed to meet the end zone again with 3:52 left to play in the first half after the Patriots moved the ball with ease to take a 21-0 lead.

The second half of the contest started much to the same tune as well. The Patriots managed to return the opening kick-off to the Knights’ 45-yard-line, and in one play McLaughlin was off to the races again.

McLaughlin’s 45-yard touchdown run put the Patriots up 28-0 with 11:38 left in the third quarter of play, and the clock burning mentality quickly took over on the home sideline.

“We had a great opportunity to get a lot of guys playing time tonight,” Kilcrease said. “That helps us out a lot getting these guys game experience, and I’m proud of how our guys played tonight.”

The Patriots managed to punch in two more touchdowns on the night reaching their final point total. Fullback Ben McKeller punched his ticket to the promised land with 1:35 left in the third quarter.

The Knights managed to score their first offensive points of the season with 7:48 left in the game. A.J. Redding found the end zone for the Knights who only accomplished a safety in a 45-2 loss to Monroe Academy the week before.

Marcus Stepehens ended all scoring on the night when he punched in the final score with 4:07 left to play.

McLaughlin’s final stats on the night included a fumble recovery, an interception, eight tackles, 190 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Taylor Stephens rushed for 63 yards on eight carries. Kyle Boswell added 40 yards on the night, and Tatum Barnes pushed the Patriots for 45 more.

Defensively, Taylor Stephens posted eight tackles. Andrew Quincey and Tanner Free posted seven and six tackles respectively, and Martin Meeks had an interception in the contest as well.